Beam me up, Scotty’s

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Beam me up, Scotty's

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Will cook for food

So last night, I had a few friends come around to sample some of my culinary efforts, and so that I could impress my new business cards upon them and beg them to hire me. I feared the cold would keep people away, and there were a few no-shows, but all in all the turnout was good, the evening went well and I think a good time was had by all.

I knew that no matter how much time I had allotted to prep, I would probably end up in a frantic state of panic at the last minute. Things started off smoothly – I shopped on Wednesday, made cupcakes and cleaned the heck out of the house on Thursday so that I could devote all of Friday to cooking.

The first dilemma proved to be the chocolate pots de cremes (aka Chocolate Sex) I was hell-bent on making. I own 12 ramekins, but knew that wouldn’t be enough. The party rental place had them, but at $1 pop, renting was a little pricy. I finally found the solution earlier in the week in the form of little espresso cups I bought for cheap at a restaurant supply store downtown – problem solved!

I’d mapped out a schedule for cooking on Friday, and the pots de cremes were first up so they’d have enough time to cook and chill. I’ve made this recipe a few times already and it’s always been fantastic, dare I say foolproof, so I wasn’t nervous about them at all. Ha. Ha. Bloody ha. I measured out all my ingredients, got all my dishes in place, ready to rock and roll. I started heating up the cream, as you do, when I smelled something fishy. Maybe not fishy, just slightly foul. I stuck my finger in the pot only to discover that the economy-sized vat of Half and Half I’d bought at Costco two days before was sour. Yikes. Just glad I caught it before I’d whipped up 30 of the little buggers! Cardinal rule of chefdom – taste, taste, taste as you go.

I was on a fairly tight schedule, but now I had to afford a few minutes for a quick emergency supermarket run. I took off like a bat out of hell to the grocery for more cream. Did I mention it was -11 degrees and the lock on the driver’s side door on our Explorer is jammed? So there I am, rushing out of the house (I didn’t even brush my teeth), crawling in and out of the passenger door and humping over the gearshift in subzero temps, all in the name of chocolate custard.

I bought my new Half and Half, got it home and mixed up the rest of the recipe, but realized that the custard seemed a little thin as I was pouring it into the espresso cups, which I managed to slop all over and had to spend more precious time wiping drips off of each one individually. The required 30 minutes baking time came and went, and the desserts were still runny. At this point, after all this time, money and effort, I was determined to make these little suckers work come hell or high water. Fortunately, 10 extra minutes of baking seemed to do the trick and by the time the pots de creme had chilled, they seemed to be just fine in taste and texture. Thank God.

My other slight dilemma: I had planned to serve mini cheeseburgers Caprese – little beef patties with Italian seasoning topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella, arugula and pesto. Sounds simple enough, right? But I quickly found it’s hard to keep burgers warm for a crowd without them drying out. I resorted to grilling them off all at once, then reheating them in small batches during the evening. I’m afraid the ones that sat out on the buffet for longer than a few minutes went cold, although the guests still seemed to enjoy them.

I had invited everyone over at 6, but was still humping to get things plated and set up at 6:15. My poor first guest ended up patiently babysitting for a few minutes (thanks, Amy! You rock, and you’re Michael’s new favorite peek-a-booer) while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, throwing things on platters and imploring my loving husband to just make the dirty dishes in the sink go away. (Which reminds me, hubby will kill me if I don’t take a moment to publicly acknowledge his help and contributions, which I will sincerely do now. He took the day off work to watch the boys so I could cook, picked up my rentals, washed dishes, managed the Euro 80s background music, did a million other little things to help AND frosted cupcakes. Yes, Virginia, real men frost cupcakes. Thanks for everything, babe, couldn’t have done it without you! Mwuah!)

The full menu was the mini cheeseburgers Caprese, pear bleu cheese flatbreads, a sumptuous cheese board, baked brie with spicy apple chutney, hot mulled wine, mini vanilla latte cupcakes and the aforementioned chocolate pots de cremes.

The rest of the evening was spent eating, drinking and chatting with old and new friends. It was a great learning experience for me, a great excuse to entertain and a great chance to test out some new recipes. I had fun, and I hope everyone else did, too. Thanks to my guests for their attendance and support!

the full-on buffet. No Golden Corral here!

the full-on buffet. No Golden Corral here!